The Advanced Practice Rehabilitation Nurse
Definition of the role of the advanced practice rehabilitation nurse
The Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) endorses the role of the advanced practice nurse as defined and described by the American Nurses Association in Nursing: A Social Policy Statement:
The Institute of Medicine believes that "Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training." (p. 4). The Advisory Board Company© recognizes that in order to meet the rigor of healthcare value, managing complex patients across populations with high demands there must be "Top-of-License Nursing Practice."
The ARN Standards and Scope of Rehabilitation Nursing Practice defines advanced practice rehabilitation nursing as:
"Preparation for advanced practice in rehabilitation nursing requires a graduate degree in nursing, preferably with a concentration in rehabilitation nursing concepts. APRNs integrate clinical practice, education, research, leadership, and consultation, all of which require intraprofessional and interprofessional collaboration. Advanced practice level nurses in rehabilitation nursing possess and demonstrate advanced levels of expertise in providing, directing, managing, and influencing the care of rehabilitation patients.
The rehabilitation APRN provides clinical expertise in supporting the functions of other nurses and healthcare providers in a variety of settings. A nurse functioning in the advanced practice role may be a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner. APRN certification may be dependent on title protection and federal and state mandates." (p.12)
Roles of the advanced practice rehabilitation nurse
Advanced practice rehabilitation nurses may function in a variety of roles including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, case managers, administrators, educators, researchers, staff nurses, and consultants; and in health care settings throughout the continuum of care.
Direct Care Provider
Advanced practice rehabilitation nurses may function in a variety of roles including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, case managers, administrators, educators, researchers, staff nurses, and consultants.
The Association of Rehabilitation Nurses believes that the role of the advanced practice rehabilitation nurse is a valuable asset within rehabilitation practice and is essential for the continued growth and expansion of rehabilitation nursing as a specialty. In every setting in which the advanced practice rehabilitation nurse functions, he or she acts as a role model for rehabilitation nurses. The value of the advanced practice rehabilitation nurse can be measured by the improved cost effectiveness of patient care, increased nursing staff clinical knowledge and skill, reduced frequency of complications for the rehabilitation patient, increased quality of nursing care, development of new knowledge and innovations, and savings on expenses resulting from the availability of a resident expert for consultation services. The Association of Rehabilitation Nurses encourages the development and expansion of the specialty of rehabilitation nursing through further promotion and utilization of the advanced practice rehabilitation nurse.
American Nurses Association (2010). Nursing's Social Policy Statement: The Essence of the Profession. Silver Spring, MD.
Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (2014). ARN Competency Model for Professional Rehabilitation Nursing. Chicago, IL.
Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (2014). Standards & Scope of Rehabilitation Nursing Practice, (6th ed.). Chicago, IL.
Institute of Medicine. Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing (2011). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
The Advisory Board Company. (2013). Achieving Top of License Nursing Practice: Best Practices for Elevating the Impact of the Frontline Nurse. Retrieved from http://www.advisory.com/research/nursing-executive-center/studies/2013/achieving-top-of-license-nursing-practice
This role description was originally developed by the Advanced Practice Nurses Special Interest Group of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses in 2002. Subsequent revisions were made in 2011, 2015.